MDP withdraws no-confidence motion against Home Minister Jameel

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Monday withdrawn a no confidence motion submitted to parliament against Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.

According to parliament, MDP parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had submitted a letter stating that the group had “decided not to carry forward at this time the no confidence motion against Home Minister Dr Jameel which was submitted under Article 177(a) of the Parliament regulations.”

Solih declined to share the reasons behind the withdrawal when speaking to local media, saying instead that “perhaps the reasons may be revealed later”.

Following the submission of the motion in early October, MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy had said that the action had been taken over concerns regarding what he alleged was an “unprecedented increase in murders and assault” since the transfer of power. He further criticized Jameel’s failure to probe human rights abuses conducted by police on February 8.

MDP has also submitted a no confidence motion against President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, which has not yet been placed on schedule in the parliament.

Furthermore, the Public Affairs Committee has approved an amendment to the parliament regulations allowing secret ballots when conducting no confidence votes. The matter is now pending review and voting on the parliament floor, which is currently scheduled for November 19.

Home Minister Jameel was unable to speak to Minivan News this afternoon, and was later not responding to calls.

MDP Parliamentary Group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was not responding to calls and deputy leader Ali Waheed’s phone was switched off at the time of press.


MDP to boycott Majlis sitting to approve VP, cabinet nominees

Ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said it will boycott Wednesday’s Majlis sitting scheduled to approve President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s vice-president nominee and 14 member cabinet.

The MDP alleges President Waheed came to power through a coup d’état, and has called for fresh elections and an independent investigation into the transfer of power on February 7.

“We continue to believe the transfer of power occurred through a coup d’état. We do not believe any cabinet Dr Waheed appoints to be lawful. Therefore we believe the sitting scheduled to approve such a cabinet is also an unlawful sitting,” MDP parliamentary group (PG) leader Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

The MDP had sent a letter requesting cabinet approval be postponed to a later date, but did not receive a reply, Ibu said.

MDP deputy PG leader Ali Waheed said the decision to boycott Wednesday’s sitting was “not defeat,” but a “courageous decision.”

He also said the Speaker could not schedule approval for the cabinet until an independent investigation into the transfer of power is complete.

President Waheed has set up a three member Committee of National Inquiry (CNI), but the commission has come under fire from international bodies such as the Commonwealth, the MDP and local civil society group for lack of independence.

MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik said the establishment of the CNI was proof that President Waheed himself questioned the legitimacy of his administration. Further, even if the cabinet nominees were approved, Waheed’s administration could not submit bills as Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihad (GI) does not have representation in the Majlis.

Article 71 of the parliamentary rules of procedure states the government can only submit bills, including tax bills, to the parliament through the party it represents.

The MDP also sought to obstruct Waheed from addressing parliament on March 1 and March 19. Waheed only managed to deliver a shortened version of the presidential address amidst loud heckling by MDP MPs in the Majlis chamber while MDP supporters and police clashed violently outside. During the speech an MP held up a placard declaring Waheed a ‘coup boss’.

Meanwhile, the MDP has also tabled a no-confidence motion against speaker Abdulla Shahid claiming the speaker follows the house rules at his discretion and does not seek advice from political parties when making major decisions.

In response, Shahid has said: “I was elected as Speaker through a parliamentary majority. Since then, I have upheld and in the future will continue to uphold the Constitution and laws of the Maldives and the Parliament’s regulations.”

The MDP commands 32 of the 77 seats in parliament.


Majlis postpones decision on response to President’s speech

The parliamentary speaker yesterday announced the postponement of providing an official response to President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s inaugural speech to the Majlis chamber on March 19.

Controversy surrounded the curtailed speech as opposition MPs attempted to disrupt and heckle the president as he performed his constitutionally mandated duty of speaking at the opening of the session. The previous attempt to address parliament on March 1 had been abandoned after the Speaker of the House Abdullah Shahid was unable to gain entrance to the People’s Majlis.

The official response to the address, according to article 25 of the Parliament rules of procedure, must come from the non-presidential party with the most number of seats.

The Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) leader in Parliament Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Solih, however has said that he does not feel it appropriate for his party to carry out this function at present.

“I don’t believe that the Maldives has a legitimate leader at present. If so then the leader would be from MDP. That’s why we have refused to respond to the presidential address as MDP is not required to do so,” Haveeru reported Ibu Solih as having said.

Haveeru reported that no members objected to the motion to postpone the response.